Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Purple patch for sprouting broccoli

The poetically named purple sprouting broccoli and its trendy acronym psb are not an invention of the pr industry to boost the flagging brassica family.

A rare yield from the late winter garden this seasonal super-veg packed with iron, calcium and vitamins A and C has been available to buy for about 30 years in Britain.

Psb is particularly good when young and tender. Look for stems that are snappy not bendy. Ultra fresh stalks can be washed and dipped in hoummous.

Simply steamed or boiled for a few minutes and served with lemon juice and butter, psb goes well with most white fish and meat. Try it for brunch with a plate of Iberian ham and soft boiled duck's eggs or mixed in a classic Southern Italian pasta dish with chilli, garlic, anchovies and a splash of the best olive oil money can buy. The slender spears are ideal for a stir fry cooked with ginger and sesame oil and added to quinoa or Thai curry style with rice noodles.

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